The Decatur Daily Democrat

Tech sector leads stocks lower as inflation remains high


NEW YORK – Stocks fell on Wall Street Wednesday, led by more drops in technology companies, after a report on inflation came in worse than feared. An early rally faded, leaving the S&P 500 1.6% lower after waffling between gains and losses in morning trading. The slide wiped out gains from a day before, when the benchmark index snapped a three-day losing streak. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 1% and the Nasdaq fell 3.2% as tech stocks weighed down the broader market. The three major indexes are each on pace for another sharp weekly loss. Wall Street has been transfixed on the nation’s high inflation, and where it’s heading, because it’s causing the Federal Reserve to yank the supports it propped under markets for most of the pandemic. The Fed has flipped aggressive­ly toward raising interest rates after seeing high inflation last longer than it expected. Wednesday’s report from the U.S. Labor Department showed inflation slowed a touch in April, down to 8.3% from 8.5% in March. Investors also found some glasshalf-full signals in the data that inflation may be peaking and set to ease further. Neverthele­ss, the numbers were still higher than economists forecast. They also showed a bigger increase than expected in prices outside food and gasoline, something economists call “core inflation” and which can be more predictive of future trends. “Core inflation came in hot, and that’s what really matters to the Fed at this point,” said Brian Jacobsen, senior investment strategist at Allspring Global Investment­s. Economists said the inflation report will keep the Fed on track for rapid and potentiall­y sharp increases in interest rates in upcoming months, though the data led to erratic trading on Wall Street. Treasury yields initially jumped but pared their gains as the morning progressed. The 10-year Treasury yield climbed as high as 3.08% but fell back to 2.92% in later trading, below its late-Tuesday level of 2.99%. The twoyear yield, which moves more on expectatio­ns for Fed action, rose to 2.64% from 2.62% late Tuesday. It had climbed as high as 2.75% shortly after the report’s release. As yields briefly regressed, most stocks reversed their early losses, but the gains didn’t hold. “In the past week, any kind of gains have really struggled to stick,” said Ross Mayfield, investment strategy analyst at Baird. “It’s just a seller’s market right now.” The S&P 500 fell 65.87 points to 3,935.18, while the Nasdaq slid 373.44 points to 11,364.24. Both indexes posted five straight weekly losses heading into this week. The Dow dropped 326.63 points to 31,834.11. The blue-chip index has racked up six straight weekly losses. Smaller company stocks also lost ground. The Russell 2000 fell 43.65 points, or 2.5%, to 1,718.14.

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